In January of 1598, Feodor (Fyodor) I, the heir to Ivan the Terrible, died at the age of 40 and with him ended the Rurik Dynasty in Russia. Feodor’s death came seven years after his half-brother Dmitry of Uglich died at the age of nine under mysterious circumstances from a stab wound to the throat.
During Feodor’s reign, Boris Godunov, Feodor’s brother-in-law, essentially ruled the country. After Feodor's death Boris was crowned the tsar of all Russia. The country then plunged into what was later called “Time of Troubles”, marked by famine, plague, political intrigue, and general disorder and unrest.
Pushkin’s poetic drama takes us back to the beginning of Time of Troubles and the appearance of the first pretender to the throne, who claimed to be the miraculously surviving tsarevich Dmitry (Dmitry). The true identity of the “False Dimitry” is not clear.
This recording is of the English translation of “Boris Godunov” by Alfred Hayes. The text keeps to the rhythm of Pushkin’s original blank verse very closely. It also includes scenes (“Fence of the Monastery”, “Mnishek in Sambor”) that are usually omitted from the printed original editions.
Pushkin’s drama was later remodeled by Mussorgsky into a musical presentation, which is now considered one of the greatest of all Russian operas.
BORIS GODUNOV, afterwards Tsar – David Stifel
PRINCE SHUISKY, Russian noble – Tovarisch
PRINCE VOROTINSKY, Russian noble – Mark Crowle-Groves
SHCHELKALOV, Russian Minister of State – Bob Neufeld
FATHER PIMEN, an old monk and chronicler – Joseph Tabler
GREGORY OTREPIEV, a young monk, afterwards Dmitry, the Pretender to the throne of Russia – Tomas Peter
THE PATRIARCH, Abbot of the Chudov Monastery – John Burlinson
MISSAIL, wandering friar – Peter Tucker
VARLAAM, wandering friar – Denis Daly
ATHANASIUS MIKAILOVICH PUSHKIN, friend of Prince Shuisky – David Prickett
FEODOR, young son of Boris Godunov – Jeff Moon
SEMYON NIKITICH GODUNOV, secret agent of Boris Godunov – Ben Stevens
GABRIEL PUSHKIN, nephew of A. M. Pushkin – David Prickett
PRINCE KURBSKY, disgraced Russian noble – Ted Wenskus
KHRUSHCHOV, disgraced Russian noble – Ron Altman
KARELA, a Cossack – Joseph Tabler
PRINCE VISHNEVETSKY – Russell Gold
MNISHEK, Governor of Sambor – Noel Badrian
BASMANOV, a Russian officer – Marty Kryz
MARZHERET, officer of the Pretender – Cate Barratt
ROZEN, officer of the Pretender – Bob Neufeld
MOSALSKY, a Boyar – Andy Harrington
KSENIA, daughter of Boris Godunov – Leanne Yau
NURSE of Ksenia – Lee Ann Howlett
MARINA, daughter of Mnishek – Grace Garrett
ROUZYA, nurse of Ksenia – Susan Iannucci
HOSTESS of tavern – Cate Barratt
Also featuring the voices of Amanda Friday, Alan Weyman, Jennifer Fournier, Phil Benson, Andrew Coleman, Craig Franklin, and Brett Downey.
Stage directions read by Linda Barrans
Excerpts from Pictures from an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
Performed by the New Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Recording published by the Internet Archive
Polonaise, from Christmas Eve by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff
Performed by the US Air Force Band
Recording published by musopen.org
Audio edited by Denis Daly
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